In recent years, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has experimented with virtual scavenger hunts and augmented reality. This spring, the event will not only spotlight the next big thing in music but also one of the hottest tech trends, bringing NFTs to center stage for the 250,000 or so people expected to attend the sold-out weekends April 15-17 and April 22-24 at the Empire Polo Club in Indio.
NFT stands for nonfungible token, a unique digital item that can be bought and sold and take many forms, including images, GIFs and audio. In recent years, the work of musicians such as Kings of Leon and artists such as Beeple and Banksy have been minted as NFTs.
“We saw what they were doing for artists, and Coachella is a festival and an experience that wants to highlight creatives, so it seemed like an opportunity to do that,” said Sam Schoonover Coachella’s innovative lead.
As Schoonover and his team started seeing headlines and traction around NFTs in early 2021, they wondered about how to incorporate them into the fabric of Coachella.
The festival announced its entrance into the NFT market in early February with collections that included festival photos and sounds, posters and unique Coachella keys that came with lifetime passes and on-site experiences that range from front-of-house views to lifetime luxe camping accommodations at the festival.
“It’s a lot of education for people who are getting their first NFT ever,” Schoonover said. “It was our goal to introduce Coachella fans to new technology and introduce NFT fans to Coachella, and we did both.”
More recently, the festival announced a NFT collection with the music collective 88rising, which will have a showcase at the festival.
Plus, passholders will receive a free NFT of a flower that can be activated on-site with a handful blossoming into big perks.
And this could be just the beginning.
“I think NFTs are going to be an important part of a lot of festivals with marketing and fan engagement strategies. But I think that the concept of an NFT is going to evolve dramatically,” Schoonover said. “I think we’re on step one of 10 of what technology around NFTs is going to enable in the next 10 years.”
Here’s a rundown of Coachella’s NFT collections.
In Bloom: Those who have received wristbands to the festival will be given one of the In Bloom NFTs. It looks like a massive psychedelic flower seed, and it will blossom every Friday morning of the festival. Some will blossom into one of six rare flowers that can be redeemed for things at the festival like VIP upgrades, 2023 weekend passes, Goldenvoice concert tickets, and Ferris wheel rides. Passholders must download the FTX app, Coachella’s NFT marketplace partner, and connect their wristband to be able to access the NFT.
Sights and Sounds Collection: Part of the initial NFT offering, this collection included 10,000 NFTs priced at $60. Each came with one of 10 photos that could be redeemed for a physical print as well as an exclusive soundscapes from the polo fields. It sold out within a few hours of going on sale.
Desert Reflections Collection: Limited to 1,000, this collection of digital versions of 10 posters from across Coachella’s history created by the artist Emek could also be redeemed for a physical photo book of the festival. Priced at $180 each, the collection sold out within three minutes.
Coachella Keys collection: The 10 individual NFTs in the collection all included lifetime passes to Coachella for one weekend in April every year and varying amenities such as luxury camping and gourmet meals. Each sold in the six figures with the total coming to $1,474,000.
YouTube NFT: YouTube is offering two lifetime passes in the form of an NFT for participants who submit a short video explaining who their dream plus-one would be to the festival. Visit youtube.com/yt/coachellasweepstakes for more information.
88rising Head in the Clouds Forever collection: Music collective 88rising, which is behind the Head in the Clouds Festival in Pasadena and a showcase with the same name at Coachella, has teamed up with filmmaker and visual artist Curry Tian. The collection features three sub-collections titled Cloud Show by Curry Tian, Head in the Clouds by Curry Tian and View from the Clouds.
Perks for all of the collections include new music from 88rising artists after Coachella 2022, a dedicated entry line at Head In The Clouds L.A. 2022, early access to upcoming 88rising NFT collections and early access to 88rising merchandise drops and collaborations. Some also include discounts for the brand’s merch online.
There will also be an NFT scavenger hunt available Coachella attendees. Find 88rising’s secret art pieces at Coachella and scan a code in the FTX app to reveal a landing page with instructions on how to mint an exclusive NFT on-site.
Cloud Show by Curry Tian: Limited to 5,000 NFTs and starting at $88, they include a Coachella 2022 water bottle. Sometime after weekend 2, the original NFT will transform into a new one with a 15-second video of the stage visuals designed by Tian. NFT holders must retain the NFT in the FTX wallet for the transformation to happen.
The Head in the Clouds by Curry Tian: Limited to 1,000 NFTs and starting at $288, perks include a limited-edition Coachella x 88rising T-shirt and $88 off passes for the next Head in the Clouds festival in L.A. Like the Cloud Show NFTs, they will transform after the festival’s second weekend — these into one of three different celestial beings designed by Tian.
The View from the Clouds/Cloud Mansion: Limited to six NFTs with prices based on bidding (similar to the Coachella Keys), the most exclusive is the View from The Clouds, contains the NFT titled Private Viewing. It includes two artist passes to Head in the Clouds L.A. 2022, two Coachella 2022 VIP passes and two credentials for special viewing access of 88rising’s Head in the Clouds performance at Coachella 2022.
The other five NFTs are titled Cloud Mansion and include two special access passes to a party at the 88rising Cloud Mansion offsite near Coachella this year and two Southbay Surfclub tickets for Head in the Clouds L.A. 2022.